Review by Frank Plowright
When Rudy watches the birds of the Air Delivery Corps dropping off the mail every day his heart swells with pride. He’s entranced by the glamour and responsibility, and takes the time to learn the content of ADC handbook knowing that one day he’ll be among their number. There’s just one problem to be overcome. Rudy is a frog, not a bird, and that would appear to ensure the job of his dreams will remain forever out of reach.
Plotters Mike Raicht and Brian Smith have an animation comics pedigree, and this is their attempt at establishing their own franchise, complete with an animation style theme song occupying the opening eight pages. The basis for their characterisation is that Rudy is viewing actuality through rose coloured glasses, and the day when he steps in to ensure a mail delivery in adverse conditions improves standards immensely. This doesn’t sit well with the other ADC employees who’re now going to have to up their game. In order to dissuade him, Rudy’s introduced to a massive undeliverable package.
Smith handles the illustration and his cartooning sets simple and appealing animal figures against more complex and realistic looking backgrounds. He accentuates this by colouring the cast brightly to contrast the darker environments they inhabit. The best cartoonists only need a mouth and eyes to provide a personality, and Rudy comes across as happy and diligent. It’s glorious stuff, and Smith makes use of full pages to supply wonderful multiple images of a character in motion (see sample art) all the way through the book.
The underlying mail plot concerns the ADC employees attempting to rid themselves of the oblivious Rudy for showing them up for the idle and complacent jobsworths they are, but it only takes the tale so far. Rudy involves himself with the recipients of previously undeliverable packages, his irrepressible good nature and resourcefulness helping them out as well, while the switch of scenery introduces new aspects and friends.
Kids will surely love this graphic novel. It’s resolutely good natured, mind-expanding and joyful.